Keres Pueblo Indians - Orientation

Identification. The name "Keres" refers to seven present-day Keresan-speaking Pueblo Indian tribes of New Mexico. Acoma and Laguna are commonly designated as Western Keresans as contrasted with the Eastern Keresan villages, or pueblos, of Santa Ana, Zia (Sia), San Felipe, Santo Domingo, and Cochiti. Each pueblo, together with its satellites, constitutes an independent tribe with its own political, Ceremonial, and social structures.

Location. The Western Keresan villages, Acoma and Laguna, lie, respectively, some sixty and forty miles west of Albuquerque, in west-central New Mexico. Santa Ana and Zia are located on the Jemez River some miles above its confluence with the Rio Grande and twenty-seven and thirty miles north of Albuquerque. Cochiti, Santo Domingo, and San Felipe are on the Rio Grande and lie, Respectively, twenty-five, thirty, and thirty-five miles southwest of Santa Fe.

Demography. The Keresan Pueblos, individually, have varied in size and also in comparison with one another at any particular time through the historic centuries. Dutton gave the following population figures for the Keresan tribes as of the census of 1980: Acoma, 3,592; Laguna, 6,233; Santa Ana, 517; Zia, 645; San Felipe, 2,145; Santo Domingo, 2,857; and Cochiti, 918.

Linguistic Affiliation. The Keresan language is regarded as standing alone by most linguists; connections with other linguistic stocks are not generally accepted. Within the group of seven Keresan Pueblos, there are significant differences Between the Western and Eastern subgroups. Communication between the subgroups is commonly regarded as difficult at best. Within each of the two subgroups, minor dialectic distinctions are generally recognized. Members of the several tribes chide other Keresan speakers for speaking strangely. Under the impact of television, increasing numbers of Marriages with non-Keresan spouses, and the overall influence of outside relationships, the smaller Keresan tribes are currently greatly concerned over the imminent loss of their native language: without this language, the ceremonial or religious life of the tribe suffers, and without a viable religious life, the way of life of the entire native culture is threatened with extinction.

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